Well, you saw this one coming – if probably a lot earlier. With the dance music market growing and synth fever spreading, Japanese giant Yamaha seems to have some new keyboard up its sleeves.

In a teaser video today, the first of a series, Yamaha promises something called “reface.”

Updated: there’s more. New Yamaha Synths Will Include “Totally Alien” New Technology, Says Interview

The video shows a blurry show of a Yamaha CS-80, the one synth mentioned by name in the artist videos. And there are keys involved (from the spread of the hands in the one artist video, they seem full-sized rather than mini keys).

It seems unlikely Yamaha is re-releasing the CS, and there’s already the phrase “new take” in the video. More likely than the KORG reissue route, Yamaha almost certainly is pursuing a Roland-style AIRA product – something with a clear connection to a classic, but via a new take. And digital seems more likely.

It’s fun to watch the Synthtopia readers speculate. (And the community at large has been bold with ideas – like user forum spec work made last year.)

I think an app is very unlikely (apart from use as a companion to hardware), for one simple reason – apps don’t make much money, and hardware can.

But I do like the thought that the DX series could be involved as well as CS. If this is something like the AIRA TR-8 and SYSTEM-1, there’s no reason Yamaha couldn’t do a retro-styled digital synth that brings back some vintage classic sounds.

Also, don’t miss the pianos in one of the shots. So it’s possible that piano sounds could be involved, too.

The big difference with the way you do that now and the way you did it in the 90s: more emphasis on hands-on control, like the original analog models. Now, whether Yamaha has figured that out yet, we’ll find out soon.

But with Roland doing Eurorack and KORG doing all manner of analog experiments, my big question is whether Yamaha will try the radical directions of its Japanese rivals.

I want to believe.

Wait – from this shot below, maybe aliens are involved.

reface

Side note: does anyone think Reface is about the last name you’d choose if trying to remind people of synth cred?

reface

Via comments by reader ‘foljs’ on another story (and generally, I agree):

A new product teaser from one of the most well know brands IS news. Heck, there have been posts based on less information and for less iconic brands.

Besides, it’s not “something” to be released “sometime” etc. You probably haven’t been paying attention or don’t know how to put 2+2 together.

We already know it has a keyboard (with “piano quality keys” no less according to the teaser).

We also know it will be revealed in Summer NAMM. Fuck, we know the exact date and time of the release, as there’s a countdown on Yamaha’s page: https://yamahasynth.com/

We also know it’s retro, not just from the teaser 80’s video graphics and tones, but also from the glimpses it provide’s into a CS-style hardware unit.

Whether it’s VA like AIRA or a new analog remains to be seen, but this is far from a total mysterious “Something. Sometime”…

I’m betting on an analog keyboard synth a la Korg, based on the CS legacy and styling (well, the styling part is already locked from the video), and with a price below near $1000 – $1500.

  • DX7 III FD. You read it here first.

    • Bernard Perbal

      1000-operator FM.

    • Foosnark

      Now with THREE line LCD display.

  • DX7 III FD. You read it here first.

    • Bernard Perbal

      1000-operator FM.

    • Foosnark

      Now with THREE line LCD display.

  • DX7 III FD. You read it here first.

    • Bernard Perbal

      1000-operator FM.

    • Foosnark

      Now with THREE line LCD display.

  • heinrichz

    Yes, somebody has to come up with more user friendly, intuitive way to program FM, because it’s still one of the most versatile and best sounding synthesis methods.

    • just passing

      One thing I always thought would be worth pursuing is resynthesis, but mapping to DX7-style FM rather than additive. The theory’s well known enough – Bessel functions, etc – and there are suggestions that Yamaha had some software that could do it for the GS2; but it never popped up in any commercial form. Not even when the FS1r arrived looking like the offspring of a DX7 and a vocoder (although there is software that can do it – FSeqEdit, for example, at http://niff.home.xs4all.nl/fs1r/ ).

      And then, of course, there’s all the physical modelling Yamaha commercialised, and its connection with Stanford’s music research department from which that stemmed. A means of resynthesising with THAT as a target – or allowing us to construct our own instruments out of physical bits – might be even more interesting.

      There’s a lot Yamaha have to draw on, in short. More than just FM – which is out of patent, probably the easiest synthesis method to implement in hardware or software, and widely replicated elsewhere, including in a host of free VSTs and even a few hardware synths.

      • Some great ideas here. And… I have a feeling not what we’re getting from Yamaha. So a non-Yamaha player should consider exploring some of this. 😉

        • just passing

          Patents, dear boy. The patents on FS1r-style formant synthesis don’t expire until next year.

      • Magnus

        Ni Razor does additive synthesis very well and sounds quite alien the first time you hear it. I would say the most innovative synth engine in years.

  • heinrichz

    Yes, somebody has to come up with more user friendly, intuitive way to program FM, because it’s still one of the most versatile and best sounding synthesis methods.

  • heinrichz

    Yes, somebody has to come up with more user friendly, intuitive way to program FM, because it’s still one of the most versatile and best sounding synthesis methods.

  • just passing

    “Side note: does anyone think Reface is about the last name you’d choose if trying to remind people of synth cred?”

    Not the last. “Steaming pile of bullshit” is probably about the last (unless – or especially, I can’t decide – on a Taurus emulation). But it’s an awkward choice, to be sure.

  • richard conrad

    hmmm. the tenori -off??

  • richard conrad

    hmmm. the tenori -off??

  • richard conrad

    hmmm. the tenori -off??